Willy’s Wonderland (Blu-Ray)
Director: Kevin Lewis
Madman / Screen Media Films
Here’s how it works now: Someone tells you about a film where a quiet drifter-type is conned into a gig being a janitor at a now condemned theme park-styled restaurant. Chuck E. Cheese with broken-down animatronics. A clown show with no show today, tomorrow or the next day either. But next thing, the boring dusting and sweeping turns into a survival-fight where mops are being used Toxic Avenger-style to save the day against the suddenly sentient demonic toys.
You hear all this and you’re either in or out. You are in no way on the fence. Most likely you’re thinking: Sounds like a good idea for one of the weirder SNL skits – and then pondering if it can really run to movie-length.
But then you are told that it stars Nicolas Cage. And you can remember back to when the weirdest thing in Nic Cage’s life and filmography was him accepting an Oscar for a world-class performance in a harrowing but brilliant and sometimes funny drama – and then deciding to basically become an action star with three, increasingly silly films that had him brandishing guns and shouting one-liners.
It’s been a weird, wild ride ever since.
But Willy’s Wonderland is that SNL skit. And even at 82 minutes this can’t quite sustain its run time. Despite there being a couple of near-Fuck Yeah! Moments. It’s silly and the premise almost entirely sells it; certainly lets you know if you’re in or out. But I should have gone with my gut instinct on this.